Exodus 30:7
And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense (Heb., incense of spices) every morning.—On the composition of the incense, see Exodus 30:34-35. That the offering of incense regularly accompanied both the morning and evening sacrifice appears from Psalm 141:2; Luke 1:10. That it was symbolical of prayer may be gathered both from those passages and also from Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4.

When he dresseth the lamps.—Comp. Exodus 27:21.

Exodus 30:7-8. Aaron was to burn sweet incense upon this altar every morning and every evening, which was intended not only to take away the ill smell of the flesh that was burned daily on the brazen altar, but for the honour of God, and to show the acceptableness of his people’s services to him. As by the offerings on the brazen altar satisfaction was made for what had been done displeasing to God, so by the offering on this, what they did well was, as it were, recommended to the divine acceptance.

30:1-10 The altar of incense represented the Son of God in his human nature, and the incense burned thereon typified his pleading for his people. The continual intercession of Christ was represented by the daily burning of incense thereon, morning and evening. Once every year the blood of the atonement was to be applied to it, denoting that the intercession of Christ has all its virtue from his sufferings on earth, and that we need no other sacrifice or intercessor but Christ alone.The lamps - See Exodus 25:37.

Exodus 30:7-8

The offering of the incense accompanied that of the morning and evening sacrifice. The two forms of offering symbolized the spirit of man reaching after communion with Yahweh, both in act and utterance. See Psalm 141:2.

7, 8. Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense—literally, "incense of spices"—Strong aromatic substances were burnt upon this altar to counteract by their odoriferous fragrance the offensive fumes of the sacrifices; or the incense was employed in an offering of tributary homage which the Orientals used to make as a mark of honor to kings; and as God was Theocratic Ruler of Israel, His palace was not to be wanting in a usage of such significancy. Both these ends were served by this altar—that of fumigating the apartments of the sacred edifice, while the pure lambent flame, according to Oriental notions, was an honorary tribute to the majesty of Israel's King. But there was a far higher meaning in it still; for as the tabernacle was not only a palace for Israel's King, but a place of worship for Israel's God, this altar was immediately connected with a religious purpose. In the style of the sacred writers, incense was a symbol or emblem of prayer (Ps 141:2; Re 5:8; 8:3). From the uniform combination of the two services, it is evident that the incense was an emblem of the prayers of sincere worshippers ascending to heaven in the cloud of perfume; and, accordingly, the priest who officiated at this altar typified the intercessory office of Christ (Lu 1:10; Heb 7:25).

every morning … at even—In every period of the national history this daily worship was scrupulously observed.

Aaron was to do this for the first time, but afterwards any priest might do it, as appears from Luke 1:9; this not being done in the holy of holies, which was the high priest’s peculiar.

When he dresseth the lamps, i.e. cleansed them, and prepared them for the receiving of the new light.

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning,.... This in later times was done by a common priest, who obtained this service by lots as we find in the times of Zacharias, Luke 1:9 the incense was fetched out of the house of Abtines, where it was made, and burning coals were taken off of the altar of burnt offering in a vessel, and the incense was spread upon them and burnt: the Jewish canons about this matter run thus (r); he that was worthy of, or allotted to, the incense, took a vessel that held three kabs, and a bowl in the midst of it, full and heaped up with incense, and took a silver censer, and went up to the top of the altar, and moved the coals to and fro, and took them and went down and poured them into a golden censer: and again (s), he that was worthy of, or allotted to, a censer, gathered the coals upon the top of the altar, and spread them with the edges of the censer, and bowing himself went out; and he that was worthy of, or allotted to, the incense, took the bowl out of the midst of the vessel, and gave it to his friend or neighbour: and he that burns the incense may not burn until the president says to him, burn; and if he was an high priest, the president says, lord high priest, burn; the people depart, and he burns the incense, and bows and goes away: the burning of the sweet incense was typical of the mediation and intercession of Christ; the burning coals typified his sufferings, which were painful to his body, and in which he endured the wrath of God in his soul, and both must be very distressing to him: the incense put upon these shows that Christ's mediation and intercession proceeds upon his sufferings and death, his bloodshed, satisfaction, and sacrifice; which mediation of his, like the sweet incense, is frequent, is pure and holy, though made for transgressors, and there is none like unto it; there is but one Mediator between God and man: likewise this was typical of the prayers of the saints; and at the same time that the incense was burnt the people were at prayer, which was set before the Lord as incense, see Psalm 141:3, these go upwards to God, and come up with acceptance to him, from off the golden altar, being offered up to him by Christ, with his much incense, through his blood and righteousness, and are pure, holy, fervent, and fragrant, and called odours, Revelation 5:8.

when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it; which he did every morning he went into the holy place, where the candlestick with its lamps was; these he trimmed and dressed, snuffed those that were ready to go out, lighted those that were gone out, supplied them with oil and wicks, and cleared the snuff dishes, and the like: now near to the candlestick stood the altar of incense, so that when the priest looked after the one, he did the service of the other; and hence we learn, that our intercessor and lamplighter is one and the same; he that was seen amidst the golden candlesticks dressing the lamps of them, appears at the golden altar with a golden censer, to offer up the prayers of his saints, Revelation 1:13 and we learn also, that the light of the word and prayer should go together, as they do in faithful ministers and conscientious Christians, who give themselves up unto and employ themselves therein; the one to and in the ministry of the word and prayer, and the other to and in the reading and hearing of the word and prayer.

(r) Misn. Tamid, c. 5. sect. 4, 5. (s) Ibid. c. 6. sect. 2, 3.

And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he {d} dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

(d) Meaning, when he trims them, and refreshes the oil.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. burn] properly, make to exhale (or make into) sweet smoke, as Exodus 29:13 (see the note).

sweet spices] see on v. 34.

when he dresseth the lamps] cf. on Exodus 27:21.

7–10. Incense is to be burnt upon the altar twice a day by the high priest, in the morning when the lamps are removed from the candlestick for trimming, and in the evening when they are replaced and lighted. Atonement is to be made for it once a year by the blood of the sin-offering (Leviticus 16:15-19) being applied to its horns.

Verse 7. - Sweet incense. Literally, "incense of perfumes." For the composition of the incense, see vers. 34-38. When he dresseth the lamps. The lamps of the golden candlestick were to be trimmed and cleaned, their wicks looked to, and fresh oil added, if necessary, every morning, immediately after daybreak. See the comment on Exodus 27:21. The duty devolved on the priests. Exodus 30:7Upon this altar Aaron was to burn fragrant incense, the preparation of which is described in Exodus 30:34., every morning and evening before Jehovah, at the time when he trimmed the lamps. No "strange incense" was to be offered upon it, - i.e., incense which Jehovah had not appointed (cf. Leviticus 10:1), that is to say, which had not been prepared according to His instructions-nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat-offering; and no drink-offering was to be poured upon it. As the altar of incense was not only marked as a place of sacrifice by its name מזבּח, "place of slain-offering," but was put on a par with the altar of sacrifice by its square shape and its horns, it was important to describe minutely what sacrifices were to be offered upon it. For the burning of fragrant incense is shown to be a sacrifice, by the fact that it was offered upon a place of sacrifice, or altar. Moreover the word הקטיר, to cause to ascend in smoke and steam, from קטר to smoke or steam, is not only applied to the lighting of incense, but also to the lighting and burning of the bleeding and bloodless sacrifices upon the altar of incense. Lastly, the connection between the incense-offering and the burnt-offering is indicated by the rule that they were to be offered at the same time. Both offerings shadowed forth the devotion of Israel to its God, whilst the fact that they were offered every day exhibited this devotion as constant and uninterrupted. But the distinction between them consisted in this, that in the burnt or whole offering Israel consecrated and sanctified its whole life and action in both body and soul to the Lord, whilst in the incense-offering its prayer was embodied as the exaltation of the spiritual man to God (cf. Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4); and with this there was associated the still further distinction, that the devotion was completed in the burnt-offering solely upon the basis of the atoning sprinkling of blood, whereas the incense-offering presupposed reconciliation with God, and on the basis of this the soul rose to God in this embodiment of its prayer, and was thus absorbed into His Spirit. In this respect, the incense-offering was not only a spiritualizing and transfiguring of the burnt-offering, but a completion of that offering also.
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